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ACTIVATE Tairawhiti Supporting Business Growth Panel 04 2 page 0

Year of growth and innovation

5 December 2016, Steve Breen, Business Quarterly - The Gisborne Herald

Our region has shown the strongest economic growth in the country for the year.

THIS year has been one of growth for Activate Tairawhiti and the region, with our region showing the strongest economic growth in the country for the year. 

Activate has been quick to capitalise on this forward momentum.

We’ve doubled the support available to businesses, and now have two business growth advisers employed through the Regional Business Partner Programme.

They are here to help start-ups become established, and ensure established businesses succeed in the growth phase.

Innovation is another key area where we’re assisting businesses. We now have a dedicated Callaghan Innovation specialist based at the Tairawhiti Business Hub.

Project Grant funding up to $100,000 is now easier to obtain, along with better access to skills and expertise.

Activate Tairawhiti has supported three major inward investment projects with two now live — the Prime sawmill site purchase and the Wood Engineered Technology (WET) development.

Focus on job creation, talent attraction and retention, youth employment

We’re working to keep this growth going. We’ve mapped out our labour market needs for the next 3-5 years and commissioned a Labour Market Report that identifies up to 1800 new jobs being created across four main industries — horticulture, forestry, transport/logistics and engineering.

Activate has also been deeply involved in the regional marketing campaign. This is the first step in further developing our visitor industry, which, if it secures its share of the national growth, will add more job opportunities to the mix.

This level of demand for labour is more than individual employers can manage, which is where Activate comes in.

We’ve responded to this potential job growth by developing a Youth Employment Programme and by working with employers and industry to better source skilled candidates to fill their jobs. The regional marketing campaign will strengthen our region as a place to live and work, and our ability to retain and attract talent to live here.

We thank Eastland Community Trust and Gisborne District Council for their continued support; the businesses, agencies and stakeholders without whom the work of Activate Tairawhiti would not be possible; and the young people whose economic future we’re working towards.

Steve Breen is chief executive of economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti.

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